Upgrade Options & Software
Like most netbooks, the MSI Wind U100 isn't an especially upgradeable machine. Besides adding more RAM or swapping out the hard drive, there isn't much you can do without blowing your warranty, not that a warranty will stop some users from trying.
The Wind is one of the easiest to open netbooks. A couple easy to access screws are all that bar you from the innards of the netbook. Instead of a small removable service access panel, the Wind is all or nothing; the entire bottom shell comes right off.
Popping off the bottom reveals all of the innards of the Wind. Under the hood is a single DDR2 DIMM slot, hard drive bay and a mini-PCI slot. It's worth noting that the DIMM slot is empty by default, we didn't remove the memory in our photos. The Wind's motherboard actually has 1GB of DDR2-667 soldered directly to it. The four RAM chips are soldered right next to the base of the DIMM slot.
The system features a single blower-style fan. This is actually used as a case fan, it is not attached to a heatsink of any sort and only serves to circulate air within the chassis. The N270 Atom processor and the 945GSE northbridge are cooled by a large metal heatspreader while the ICH7 southbridge is left to fend for itself.
Overall the Wind has a tidy layout that should be easy to work with. Unless you are planning to replace a component, the only available upgrade option is filling the open DIMM slot with 1GB of memory, since the chipset can only handle 2GB total.
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The MSI Wind is pretty light-weight in terms of preinstalled software. On first boot, we were greeted by a relatively clean desktop, except for a collection of shortcuts. There wasn't much in the way of preinstall bloat although a 60-day trial of MS Office 2007 was installed and so was Ulead Burn Now, optical media authoring software. Installers for Norton Internet Security 2008 and CyberLink DVD were also included but the applications themselves weren't installed by default. The option to install is simply left to the user which we thought was a smart choice.
Overall the Wind came with a refreshingly clean install of Windows without any excess bloat. We really like that MSI left the option of installing Norton Internet Security and CyberLink DVD up to the user although we wish they had extended that to MS Office and Ulead Burn Now too.